Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dealing with a crisis of confidence

Confidence. Seems like you either have it, or you don't, right? We all have those friends who ooze the stuff. They're totally self-assured, would take on any challenge in a heartbeat and would never be heard putting themselves down. 

But what if you're not the confident one? Or maybe you used to be, but somewhere along the way, you lost it? 

I've been spending some time recently trying to connect with my younger, more confident self after a series of events found my self-belief and sense of worth sitting at rock bottom. For almost the whole year I've been on a downward spiral when it comes to confidence.

The voice in my head has steadily eaten away at my sense of self, uttering constant criticisms ranging from "You look 10 feet wide in these jeans, you've really let yourself go," to "It's not even worth handing this piece of work in. It's so bad it'll get shot down immediately," and "Don't arrange that get together - nobody wants to hang out with you anyway."

Hearing that 50 times a day is enough to bring anyone down, right? To make you feel even worse. Eventually you retreat into yourself because it's easier. You let those voices win. I know I'm not the only one.

But you can't go on like that forever. There comes a point where the only way is up. For me, that moment of epiphany was when, within the space of a couple of days, three of the people closest to me pointed out that I had lost that ballsy spark they used to associate with me. That they could here in my voice and tell by my body language that I was in a bad place.

I was going through a hard time, and in many ways I still am, but how can you tackle what comes your way if you're already telling yourself you're not good enough to tackle it?

Talk to anyone in your life who you'd describe as 'confident' and the first thing they'll tell you is that they don't have it together all the time. They don't always feel great about themselves and they definitely have worries and hang ups just like everybody else.

So what makes them different? They don't give those negative voices the time of day. They focus more on their past achievements and future goals than they do their failures and faults, and that shines through in their mannerisms and behaviour.

At the risk of sounding like a dodgy Nike advert, sometimes you just have to do the things that scare you, ignore that voice that tells you "you can't do this" and fight back with "hell yes I can!"

Look in the mirror and focus on something you like about yourself instead of stressing about your frizzy hair or puffy eyes.

Take action and plough on with a task instead of letting procrastination take hold just because it feels safer. Worry about what might go wrong after you've done it.

Focus on the things that make you who you are, not on the things someone else can do better than you.

Hell, I've even created a sickeningly upbeat girl power playlist for mornings when I feel like I just can't take on the day. And it works. Because confidence is infectious.

It takes a lot to pull yourself out of a hole and put this stuff into practice, but distracting myself from my own negativity by moving swiftly onto doing or thinking something else is slowly starting to have an effect on me.

I have good days and bad, but I can feel a little bit of the old, confident me returning. I can feel a hint of a zest for life, a hunger for a bit more than just plodding along, coming back to me. And I've really missed it.

Have you ever felt like you're lacking confidence? How did you build yours back up? Let me know in the comments below.

Outfit details

Top: River Island | Jeans: F and F Clothing | Bag | & Other Stories (Old) | Watch: Olivia Burton | Ring: Regal Rose | Bracelet: Primark

Thanks to the lovely Pippa from Clashing Time for the photos

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

When will the blogosphere implode?

I've had a blog for over four years now, and for me it's always been a place of self expression. I feel like it's that way for a lot of people! Until recently I'd always found the blogging community a pleasant one. I never seemed to follow or associate with bloggers or YouTubers that caused 'Twitter drama' or engaged in cyber-bullying or subtweeting (whatever that even is). But that seems to have changed now, and to be frank it's bloody spoiling it for everyone.

I'm not dumb enough to think that what's grown to be a huge online space full of bloggers with aspirations to grow and possibly even make a career out of what they're doing is always going to be a nice, fluffy lovely place to be. Putting half our damn lives on the internet there's always going to be realness, negativity and disagreements.

But lately it seems like some bloggers can't move without being criticised. Can't try to make a living without enormous backlash. Considering that many of us dream of being paid to collaborate on our blogs, Instagrams and YouTube channels, would we want to be treated that way by our followers? This 'industry' - and I'm not even sure I could call it that anymore - is propped up by people aspiring to do the very things they berate others for.

Everything anyone says is wrong - it's not inclusive enough or doesn't present every viewpoint or isn't 'relatable' (whatever that really means). How can anyone win? The more I see of it, the more I want to log off and disengage. The more I see of it, the more I want to ditch my Twitter account and go back to the real world.

Sooner or later something has to give. The backlash against the backlash is just as strong. I see people taking long breaks from blogging and social media for the sake of their own sanity. I see people picking fights on my timeline just for a bit of validation. It's not OK. Having an opinion is fine. Forcing it upon others is not. And for me it's all getting a bit boring.

I've seen multiple posts this week on Twitter/blogger hate and why it's OK to unfollow people. Of course it flipping is. You should unfollow people. I unfollow people daily at the moment because for some reason there's some kind of poisonous virus spreading where everyone forgets their manners and just leaps right whatever 'drama' of the moment is without really thinking about it.

You don't have to support someone who doesn't echo your values or produce content that you love, but you don't have to lurk around ripping them to shreds either. This whole thing is INSANELY draining.

I have NO idea where this post is going, but I had to get it off my chest. Maybe that's part of the problem. I don't know. We're all aching to be heard and feel validated in a sphere that's so overcrowded that recognition is hard to come by. But we will never achieve anything by going at each other's throats day in day out.

You didn't ask for my advice, but God damnit I'm gonna give it to ya cos recently I seem to have grown a pair. Step away from the laptop, put your damn phone down and go get some fresh air. We all need a nice, healthy dose of perspective. Blogging in its current capacity won't be here forever if we carry on like this.

I'm exhausted after trying to formulate this rant into something that makes any sense at all, so I'm off to make myself a cuppa. Night guys.
© kelly anne rist

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